However, hiring a crane need not be daunting. The use of a crane can lower other risks, such as the chances of heavy lifting injuries to personnel. Crane hire will also reduce the time frame associated with construction, and it helps keep the site tidy and organized, both of which lower the risks of onsite injury further.
Hiring a crane can be a complex process with lengthy preparations. Safety should be at the core of this process as well. A reputable crane hire company should be able to explain how they minimize risk through the following 5 essential steps to safe crane hire:
1. Careful preparation
First of all, you are looking for a crane rental service with an excellent safety record. They should operate a well-maintained fleet of cranes with up-to-date service and logbooks. Visit their premises to ensure this.
A bona fide crane hire company should have insurance for their cranes. This insurance should protect you and your project in case of loss or damage in relation to the equipment, your undertaking, or to third party property as a result of negligence on the part of the hire company.
You will also need adequate insurance as, typically, crane hire contracts stipulate that the hirer is liable after installation. You may be liable for any loss or damage caused by negligence, incorrect information, and situations such as unstable grounds or unsuitable conditions for crane operations.
The hired crane will need to be operated by a licensed operator with a Certificate of Competency for the type of crane hired. A reputable crane hire company should be able to help you find personnel with the right certification, if necessary.
2. Site safety plan
Expect many site visits from a representative of your crane hire company. A good quality crane hire company will want to be involved as early as possible in the project. This gives them time to rigorously evaluate risk, to be sure that the right crane is chosen, and to prepare thoroughly for installation.
A site safety plan will be prepared and it is a complete and thorough evaluation of risks specific to your project. You should expect that a crane hire company is fully aware of recent changes to regulations and restrictions, as these are frequently updated. A site safety plan should be prepared with reference to regulations and local restrictions of all sorts of governing bodies.
Expect that they will ask to see site details, architectural drawings, details of construction materials, the location of the material handling zone and site access information.
3. Crane base certificate
There are several ways to install a crane, and to avoid safety issues, the correct type of base for your site must be chosen.
A structural engineering consultant should be involved at this stage, and they will make the appropriate recommendations for the base. After this, the construction of the base can proceed.
Crane bases are largely concrete structures, and this concrete will be rigorously examined for safety before a crane base certificate (or tower crane foundation approval) can be issued and the crane can be installed.
4. Well-managed installation
The installation of the crane should be fully handled by the crane hire company itself.
In order to do this, they would expect clear access on installation day. They should a lso insist that no other work is carried out onsite on the day of installation. A safety exclusion zone will be marked out to ensure the safety of anyone who is not part of the installation team.
To be absolutely sure that regulations are being conformed to, the hire company (and not yourselves) should coordinate with any relevant authorities such as the council, police or road and transport authorities. If necessary, they will arrange for traffic control.
5. Thorough handover process
Once the crane is in place, full testing can begin. The hire company should rigidly adhere to the crane manufacturer’s specifications and testing processes. Overload limits will be set. Once the hire company is satisfied with the test results, a commissioning report is then handed over.
After this, the personnel responsible for operating the crane are briefed. Safe use, fault-finding procedures and the reporting of problems should be covered in this briefing. The crane logbook is turned over at this point and instructions for maintaining it would be given.
Installing a crane onsite is a complex process, but carefully choosing the right crane hire company with a good safety record should sufficiently ensure that the correct processes are followed. Doing so will substantially help minimize the risk to your project and your personnel.
Hermann Buchberger is the Founder and CEO of Active Crane Hire (ACH). He’s taken the company from start-up to Industry Leader offering the largest fleet of construction cranes in Australia. ACH launched a new type of crane previously unheard of in the Australian market: electric tower cranes. The company’s infrastructure and associated services now comprise a fleet of trucks and trailers, a crane-rigging team, mobile crane technicians, a fleet of service vehicles, and an extensive range of crane spare parts.